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Stars: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – September 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Very Short Introductions (Book 322)
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199602921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199602926
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author


Andrew King is Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Leicester.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Judith G. Bronsonstem Svcs on October 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine introduction to stars and is delightfully and clearly written. The subjects covered are how the sun survives, life on the main street, cooking the elements, stellar corpses, finding the bodies, measuring the universe, and, finally, the beginning. A great reference book on the subject. One warning: it is not for the scientifically illiterate: it is (of necessity) infested with physics).
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Stars are some of the most fascinating objects in the universe. They have exercised an oversize grip on our imagination since the dawn of humanity, and it's not hard to see why: one look at the clear star-sprinkled night sky will leave everyone in awe. Stars have been imbued with all sorts of meaning throughout history: religious, mystical, poetic, and prophetic. One of the major attitude changes happens when we realized that stars are in fact distant suns, and their faint glimmer is the consequence of their incredibly far distance from us. However, this only replaced one mystery with another: how do the Sun and all the other stars keep shining over the incredibly long time frames without changing their overall appearance noticeably. The solution to that puzzle was finally elucidated in the 20th century with the advent of our fuller understanding of microscopic Physics. This explanation - encapsulate in the field of astrophysics - is the basis of modern understanding of stars, and it is the subject matter of this very short introduction.

In order to properly understand star we need to be familiar with all the physical forces - nuclear, weak, electromagnetic and gravitational. We also need a solid understanding of thermodynamics and fluid dynamics. In other words - learning about stars is an excellent way of learning about Physics in general. This book provides an excellent overview of all the physical mechanisms and processes that go into making of a star. The book goes into some detail of the evolution of individual stars. This is a very fascinating topic in its own right, especially when it comes to the later stages of stellar evolution. If stars are massive enough, then their ends can be quite violent resulting in a spectacular explosion known as a supernova.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Taufiq Habib on December 31, 2013
Format: Paperback
Some basic technical background is required to read this book. the reader should not be shy of math or physics.
Even without this background, this book is an awesome adventure into the life of stars.
Incredible links with previous discoveries, its amazing how we can figure out so much from just a few clues.

My favorite part so far is when the author mentions how the great philosopher Auguste Comte - whose motto is featured on Brazil's flag, was so wrong when he said "we will never be able to study their composition" about stars. Its recorded as one of the worst intellectual prognostications!

When you read this book, you will find other connections to science. amazing reading, hard to put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sidney Fiarman on October 11, 2013
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This was a very beautiful and complete description of the physics of stars of all sizes. I was extremely impressed with the detail of the physical processes that cause the stars to do what they do - explode, grow, become black holes, neutron stars and more. I highly recommend this book to those with a little physics background.
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By Harrison Reese Walker on December 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very good price for the information contained. If you think you might be interested in cosmology, but not sure, then you cant go wrong with this book. I have found the whole series to be very good. Surely this is not the "best" book about stars, but I bet when you factor in value it very nearly is.
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